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Emil O. W. Kirkegaard – 2018 – Is national mental sport ability a sign of intelligence? An analysis of the top players of 12 mental sports [data]

… Zambian biochemist Chanda Chisala (2016 etc.) argued that Nigerian Scrabble performance was much higher than one would expect based on its national IQ estimate (given as 71.2 by Lynn and Vanhanen). His interpretation is that the tests are missing real ability present in this and other African populations. His study, however, was not systematic and did not include many other mental sports. The purpose of this study was to systematically examine the relationship between national skill at mental sports and national cognitive ability.

Ability in mental sports is g-loaded:

… a meta-analysis of studies of chess players and non-chess players round a mean group difference of .50 d (Sala et al., 2017). In another study, Quiroga et al (Ángeles Quiroga et al., 2015; see also Foroughi, Serraino, Parasuraman, & Boehm-Davis, 2016) administered 12 video games to 188 students as well as traditional standardized tests, and found that they measured nearly identical constructs (r’s .93 to .96).

The games used to test Chinda Chisala’s thesis:

For games, we included every esport listed at https://www.esportsearnings.com/games with at least 1,000 top players. This resulted in the inclusion of 8 games: DOTA 2 (dota2), League of Legends (lol), Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (csgo), Starcraft 2 (sc2), Counter-Strike (cs), Hearthstone (hs), Overwatch (ow), and Super Smash Bros. Melee (ssbm). Furthermore, we included major non-esports: Chess, Go, Poker and Scrabble.

Controlling for population size, performance in mental sports correlated r=0.79 with Lynn and Vanhanen’s published national IQs.

iq-mental-sports

General gaming ability score and national IQ. Orange line = linear fit (top left), blue line = local regression fit (span = 1.00). Weighted by square root of population size.

Contra Chisala’s arguments that Nigeria’s IQ estimates were spuriously low due to its good performance in Scrabble, not only were its results concordant with its reported IQ levels of ~70, but it was also the poorest performing country in the world when controlling for population size.

In reality, there were actually just four major outliers. North Korea was the biggest negative outlier, presumably due to very low Internet penetration. South Africa, Brazil, and the United States were positive outliers, which Kirkegaard suggests could be a smart fraction effect.

So why Nigeria’s (relative to its IQ) outstanding performance on Scrabble?

mental-sports-factor

Because it has by far the least mental sports loading (correlation with performance in other games) out of the twelve games, less so even than go, which is almost entirely constricted to East Asia.

Kirkegaard concludes:

With regards to the arguments by Chisala concerning Nigeria and Scrabble, we find no support for mismeasured Nigerian intelligence. It is true, as he noted, that Nigerians are much better at Scrabble than one would expect (standardized residual for Scrabble is 1.55, rank 3). However, Nigerians underperform on the remaining 11 sports (all residuals are negative), and the overall factor score of Nigeria (-1.39) is about what one would expect based on the current estimates of the country’s mean cognitive ability and the relation to national IQ. Indeed, based on a linear regression with just IQ, the standardized residual for Nigeria is only -0.16, meaning that the country performs very slightly worse at mental sports in general than one would expect based on its mean national intelligence. The predicted IQ of Nigeria was 73.1 based on a nonlinear model with just game performance as the predictor, Lynn and Vanhanen’s (2012) estimate was 71.2, and a recent large-scale study (n ≈ 11k) using Raven’s Standard Progressive Matrices found a mean IQ of 65.5 (Hur, Nijenhuis, & Jeong, 2017). The anomalously high Scrabble performance is not plausibly interpreted as hidden ability, but rather as a cultural specific preference for a specific sport.

 
• Category: Race/Ethnicity • Tags: Chess, IQ, Nigeria, Psychometrics, Video Games 
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  1. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    Superintesting paper. Also, as a sidenote, seeing CS:GO being more correlated with national IQ than SC2(even if the differences are marginal) blows a big hole in the argument that FPS games are inherently for dumber people, though what kind of FPS game naturally also matters. Even if SC2 has higher mental loading (not surprising), the difference there too isn’t huge either.

    I was surprised to see DOTA 2 being (relatively) lower correlated, though I am not a DOTA 2 player so I don’t have a good off-hand explanation for that one.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Anon
    Also, as a sidenote, seeing CS:GO being more correlated with national IQ than SC2(even if the differences are marginal) blows a big hole in the argument that FPS games are inherently for dumber people, though what kind of FPS game naturally also matters. Even if SC2 has higher mental loading (not surprising), the difference there too isn’t huge either.

    I wonder what the 'loading' is for other FPS games. Would they be all that much different? I don't have much interest in video games, but I did play various FPS games online with my nephew a few years ago. We noticed that a large percentage of the best players happened to be blacks and Mexicans from the US. I assumed their skill was due to having spent a lot of time playing the games, but maybe that's not correct?
    , @Anon
    If the nationalities of players are based on the list @esportsearnings the correlation difference between Dota and LoL can be explained by the fact that LoL is dominated by Koreans (every League player among top 150 esportsearners is Korean) and Korea has a high national IQ. Dota arguably could be said to have more complexity (in both heroes and the metagame) but Koreans don't do that well there. The top Dota earners are mostly European and Chinese, with some South Asians and Near Easterners who may not be very representative of the general population ex. a half-Polish Jordanian and a Lebanese Christian @top 10. The average IQ of these nationalities is lower than Korea's, hence the correlation
    , @Emil O. W. Kirkegaard
    These are aggregate level relations, not individual level. The IQ ~~ skill level relationship for CS:GO is likely to by weaker at the individual level than the IQ ~~ SC2 one. The aggregate ones reflect the distribution of national interest in specific games as well as the g-loading at individual level itself.
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  2. DFH says:

    I am really surprised by CS being the most correlated with antional IQ, given that FPS players seem to be less Asian than RTS/DOTA players

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  3. Dmitry says:

    Scrabble is dependent on having very good English vocabulary (well I guess they have some championships in other languages?). It’ll correlate with reading/culture levels in English language – i.e. how many English books people read, particularly English-language fiction (fiction texts have a much wider vocabulary than non-fiction).

    It’s a beautiful game for learning advanced English. And if you’ve ever had a few weeks in a language school, most of the Japanese and Chinese students are stuck permanently in the intermediate English class at best. Even when they are speaking well, the reading part is a nightmare for them – so I hardly see many of them qualifying for Scrabble championship.

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    • Replies: @Wency
    Playing Scrabble at an advanced level has nothing to do with being highly literate. It’s all about memorizing all of the short words that are considered playable for Scrabble and then knowing how to apply them and how to deny your opponent. Many of these players don’t know the meanings of half the words they use.

    A few words like “qi” are worth 1,000 words like “salubrious”.

    Yeah, it’s a fundamentally crappy game. All the strategies that make you better also make the game less fun and kill its intent.
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  4. szopen says:

    I’d say Kierkegaard is going for a “Weakman” with Nigeria. As we discussed as nauseum in Chisala’s threads, the performance of Nigeria is not what was surprising. It was performance of the other, much smaller country (starting with “G”: Gabon? Gambia?) where the number of top players was impossible with Lynn’s national IQ given for that country.

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    • Replies: @res
    Gabon: http://www.unz.com/article/my-last-word-on-the-scrabble-and-iq-debate-2/#comment-2005813

    I need to spend some more time looking at Emil's paper and data. As usual he has made his files available at the OSF project for this paper: https://osf.io/7xpeh/
    , @Emil O. W. Kirkegaard
    These countries don't have big positive residuals either. Look at the plot.
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  5. Speaking of race and IQ, is anybody else surprised by the hysteria that Black Panther is generating among blacks?

    I expected the blacks to go nuts over Birth of a Nation because that is based on historical events and is an interesting story, in my opinion. But Black Panther is FICTION and was developed a long time ago by 2 nerdy white guys. And yet the black elite is acting like this film is some type of racial triumph for them. Meanwhile, black audiences just shrugged at Birth of a Nation.

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    • Replies: @DFH

    2 nerdy white guys
     
    2 Jews
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  6. Jm8 says:

    Wouldn’t one expect lower performances from poorer countries in general due (at least significantly) to their lower average “internet penetration” and recreational computer/recreational internet use (incl. computer/internet game activity)? many of these games seem to be internet/computer based.

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    • Replies: @Jm8
    Edit:

    "...all of them are computer/internet-based (DOTA 2, League of Legends, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (csgo), Starcraft 2, Counter-Strike, Hearthstone, Overwatch, and Super Smash Bros. Melee/ssbm), except for a minority; Chess, Go, Poker, and Scrabble.

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  7. utu says:

    I do not think that this work refutes Chisala argument. His argument was based more on the smart fraction statistics. If IQ is correlated with scrabble and if IQ has Gaussian distribution how many good scrabble players you can find in society that has given IQ_avg and IQ_SD. His numbers imply that there is too many good scrabble players in Nigeria which implies that (1) IQ_avg (and IQ_SD) estimates for Nigeria are off or (2) Gaussian distribution for Nigeria does not apply.

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    • Replies: @The Big Red Scary

    (1) IQ_avg (and IQ_SD) estimates for Nigeria are off or (2) Gaussian distribution for Nigeria does not apply.
     
    Or both.

    But I would not be at all surprised if the distribution is non-Gaussian, given that Nigeria
    is multiethnic and has at least two intelligent and cultured subpopulations, Igbo and Yoruba.

    I once taught a course split evenly between two very different groups of students. The distribution of the final marks was distinctly Bactrian.

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  8. Jm8 says:
    @Jm8
    Wouldn't one expect lower performances from poorer countries in general due (at least significantly) to their lower average "internet penetration" and recreational computer/recreational internet use (incl. computer/internet game activity)? many of these games seem to be internet/computer based.

    Edit:

    “…all of them are computer/internet-based (DOTA 2, League of Legends, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (csgo), Starcraft 2, Counter-Strike, Hearthstone, Overwatch, and Super Smash Bros. Melee/ssbm), except for a minority; Chess, Go, Poker, and Scrabble.

    Read More
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  9. DFH says:
    @Greasy William
    Speaking of race and IQ, is anybody else surprised by the hysteria that Black Panther is generating among blacks?

    I expected the blacks to go nuts over Birth of a Nation because that is based on historical events and is an interesting story, in my opinion. But Black Panther is FICTION and was developed a long time ago by 2 nerdy white guys. And yet the black elite is acting like this film is some type of racial triumph for them. Meanwhile, black audiences just shrugged at Birth of a Nation.

    2 nerdy white guys

    2 Jews

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  10. theMann says:

    I would think that Bridge and Backgammon are the most commonly played mental sports, no mention of either. Really wonder how many Catan players exist world wide as well.

    Dota 2 is free, I believe, which I sincerely hope accounts for 99% of its popularity.

    And as a relatively strong chess player, I can assure you it is no measure of intelligence at all.

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    • Replies: @Wency
    Chess performance is correlated with IQ, in that you need maybe a 120-130 minimum IQ to be able to play at top levels. After that, it’s mostly a test of how obsessively you’re devoted to improving your chess game, am I right?

    This is probably true of every game listed here though, after shifting that minimum IQ up or down. Apparently down for Scrabble.

    One thing about Scrabble that may also be relevant: it’s more of a woman’s game, at least on the casual level. CS is definitely not. But I wonder if that is feeding into this study in any way.
    , @Krastos the Gluemaker
    The methodology is questionable in some ways. I'd owe Kirkegaard a better review and this is like the most Kirkegaard-esque paper possible, as just an observation, but my shorter thoughts on just the above:

    It was really a drunk-looking-under-lamppost attempt since no possible independent analysis would include this group of competitions/sports together without the preexisting bias. Looks bad in a cherry-picking sense. Chisala aside, nothing in terms of say prize pools would justify inclusion of Scrabble and simultaneous exclusion of others. Excluding shogi might have helped Japan look like an outlier O.o In fact the criteria to cut dozens or more potentially relevant videogames (and there are huge headscratchers, like SCBW to SCII) would in fact have cut off Go (<1000 players in the data source!) if it was actually applied.

    I don't think that really changes any of the picture, if one understands few weird sweeping conclusions can be made. As an exploratory analysis this is reasonable, and including a bunch of other games wouldn't necessarily change the qualitative appeal of the major graphs.

    Also seriously, including team sports alongside individual sports clearly really skews what you're looking at; it would be almost like concluding Usain Bolt isn't that great of a athlete on some "general athletics factor we just derived" because the German soccer teams over the years as a whole had more players than Jamaica. Definitely a lot of the result in a principal components sense is that wealthier first world and higher population countries are able to put together teams more easily. (Since common frictions like language barriers affect team formation)

    None of this is exactly my first interest anyway, at least not compared to discussing say AI performance vs game theoretic properties of these games, (which I would maintain does crucially impact understanding of human skill and correlation with IQ) but that's for elsewhere. I again truly don't care much whether average Scrabble tournament participates have 115 IQ and some videogame players have 110 IQ or 120 IQ or vice versa; I don't even know enough about all of the videogame scenes. Still to be clear it's a decent writeup by Kirkegaard in general though.
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  11. Anon • Disclaimer says:
    @Anonymous
    Superintesting paper. Also, as a sidenote, seeing CS:GO being more correlated with national IQ than SC2(even if the differences are marginal) blows a big hole in the argument that FPS games are inherently for dumber people, though what kind of FPS game naturally also matters. Even if SC2 has higher mental loading (not surprising), the difference there too isn't huge either.


    I was surprised to see DOTA 2 being (relatively) lower correlated, though I am not a DOTA 2 player so I don't have a good off-hand explanation for that one.

    Also, as a sidenote, seeing CS:GO being more correlated with national IQ than SC2(even if the differences are marginal) blows a big hole in the argument that FPS games are inherently for dumber people, though what kind of FPS game naturally also matters. Even if SC2 has higher mental loading (not surprising), the difference there too isn’t huge either.

    I wonder what the ‘loading’ is for other FPS games. Would they be all that much different? I don’t have much interest in video games, but I did play various FPS games online with my nephew a few years ago. We noticed that a large percentage of the best players happened to be blacks and Mexicans from the US. I assumed their skill was due to having spent a lot of time playing the games, but maybe that’s not correct?

    Read More
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  12. JJJ says:

    As Jm8 points out, the data here is heavily confounded by economic issues, not to mention random idiosyncratic preferences in terms of which games are popular in which countries, which will add a lot of noise. Nevertheless, since economic performance is also correlated with national IQ, the results are still reasonable-looking.

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  13. res says:
    @szopen
    I'd say Kierkegaard is going for a "Weakman" with Nigeria. As we discussed as nauseum in Chisala's threads, the performance of Nigeria is not what was surprising. It was performance of the other, much smaller country (starting with "G": Gabon? Gambia?) where the number of top players was impossible with Lynn's national IQ given for that country.

    Gabon: http://www.unz.com/article/my-last-word-on-the-scrabble-and-iq-debate-2/#comment-2005813

    I need to spend some more time looking at Emil’s paper and data. As usual he has made his files available at the OSF project for this paper: https://osf.io/7xpeh/

    Read More
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  14. Anon • Disclaimer says:
    @Anonymous
    Superintesting paper. Also, as a sidenote, seeing CS:GO being more correlated with national IQ than SC2(even if the differences are marginal) blows a big hole in the argument that FPS games are inherently for dumber people, though what kind of FPS game naturally also matters. Even if SC2 has higher mental loading (not surprising), the difference there too isn't huge either.


    I was surprised to see DOTA 2 being (relatively) lower correlated, though I am not a DOTA 2 player so I don't have a good off-hand explanation for that one.

    If the nationalities of players are based on the list @esportsearnings the correlation difference between Dota and LoL can be explained by the fact that LoL is dominated by Koreans (every League player among top 150 esportsearners is Korean) and Korea has a high national IQ. Dota arguably could be said to have more complexity (in both heroes and the metagame) but Koreans don’t do that well there. The top Dota earners are mostly European and Chinese, with some South Asians and Near Easterners who may not be very representative of the general population ex. a half-Polish Jordanian and a Lebanese Christian @top 10. The average IQ of these nationalities is lower than Korea’s, hence the correlation

    Read More
    • Replies: @Daniel Chieh
    IIRC didn't a Turkish team make it to Worlds for League as a wildcard? They didn't get too far, but I think they at least had some victories in the Team bracket.
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  15. @utu
    I do not think that this work refutes Chisala argument. His argument was based more on the smart fraction statistics. If IQ is correlated with scrabble and if IQ has Gaussian distribution how many good scrabble players you can find in society that has given IQ_avg and IQ_SD. His numbers imply that there is too many good scrabble players in Nigeria which implies that (1) IQ_avg (and IQ_SD) estimates for Nigeria are off or (2) Gaussian distribution for Nigeria does not apply.

    (1) IQ_avg (and IQ_SD) estimates for Nigeria are off or (2) Gaussian distribution for Nigeria does not apply.

    Or both.

    But I would not be at all surprised if the distribution is non-Gaussian, given that Nigeria
    is multiethnic and has at least two intelligent and cultured subpopulations, Igbo and Yoruba.

    I once taught a course split evenly between two very different groups of students. The distribution of the final marks was distinctly Bactrian.

    Read More
    • Replies: @utu
    Bi- or multi- modal distributions should be expected . In mono-ethnic countries you will get bi-modal distribution if you have mix of urban and rural populations. It is not just ethnic component but whatever is responsible for Flynn effect that is also responsible that rural and urban populations have different means.

    What was good about Chisala argument was that Scrabble is a low tech game and thus it is more decoupled from the socio-economic development of a society or country. This is not the case with some games used by Kierkegaard to compose/construct the variable he correlates with Lynn’s IQ. That the two variables correlate can be interpreted that whatever is behind IQ score compiled/concocted by Lynn’s also is behind the game score concocted by Kierkegaard and that whatever has nothing to do with genes.
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  16. utu says:

    Bi- or multi- modal distributions should be expected . In mono-ethnic countries you will get bi-modal distribution if you have mix of urban and rural populations. It is not just ethnic component but whatever is responsible for Flynn effect that is also responsible that rural and urban populations have different means.

    What was good about Chisala argument was that Scrabble is a low tech game and thus it is more decoupled from the socio-economic development of a society or country. This is not the case with some games used by Kierkegaard to compose/construct the variable he correlates with Lynn’s IQ. That the two variables correlate can be interpreted that whatever is behind IQ score compiled/concocted by Lynn’s also is behind the game score concocted by Kierkegaard and that whatever has nothing to do with genes.

    Read More
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  17. I am not sure this refutes the Chisala argument which appeared to be that national IQ averages can give a false impression if you assume the populations are homogenous when they are composed of groupings which can differ widely in cognitive performance.

    I don’t think using videogames as a measure would be very helpful, Africa has the most expensive broadband in the world and barely anyone plays MMOs. It is not like South Korea where wifi coverage in the Seoul conurbation is better than most European countries.

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  18. @Anon
    If the nationalities of players are based on the list @esportsearnings the correlation difference between Dota and LoL can be explained by the fact that LoL is dominated by Koreans (every League player among top 150 esportsearners is Korean) and Korea has a high national IQ. Dota arguably could be said to have more complexity (in both heroes and the metagame) but Koreans don't do that well there. The top Dota earners are mostly European and Chinese, with some South Asians and Near Easterners who may not be very representative of the general population ex. a half-Polish Jordanian and a Lebanese Christian @top 10. The average IQ of these nationalities is lower than Korea's, hence the correlation

    IIRC didn’t a Turkish team make it to Worlds for League as a wildcard? They didn’t get too far, but I think they at least had some victories in the Team bracket.

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  19. Why Nigeria produces Scrabble champions

    The best players earn government salaries

    It was made an official sport in the early 1990s. Prince Anthony Ikolo… reckons there are now around 4,000 players in more than 100 clubs around the country (compared with about 2,000-2,500 members in 152 clubs in America and Canada combined). He wants to ensure that “all nooks and crannies in this country have a Scrabble board.”

    It helps that some states hire Scrabble players as civil servants. Mr Quickpen gets 70,000 naira ($195) a month from Bayelsa state for coaching younger players. … Godswill Akpabio… puts on a yearly tournament. This year the first prize was worth $10,000.

    Top players can make more than $4,000 a year, a useful income boost in a country where more than half the population makes less than $1.90 a day.

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  20. Who would win in Scrabble: Nigeria or Wakanda?

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  21. utu says:
    @The Big Red Scary

    (1) IQ_avg (and IQ_SD) estimates for Nigeria are off or (2) Gaussian distribution for Nigeria does not apply.
     
    Or both.

    But I would not be at all surprised if the distribution is non-Gaussian, given that Nigeria
    is multiethnic and has at least two intelligent and cultured subpopulations, Igbo and Yoruba.

    I once taught a course split evenly between two very different groups of students. The distribution of the final marks was distinctly Bactrian.

    Bi- or multi- modal distributions should be expected . In mono-ethnic countries you will get bi-modal distribution if you have mix of urban and rural populations. It is not just ethnic component but whatever is responsible for Flynn effect that is also responsible that rural and urban populations have different means.

    What was good about Chisala argument was that Scrabble is a low tech game and thus it is more decoupled from the socio-economic development of a society or country. This is not the case with some games used by Kierkegaard to compose/construct the variable he correlates with Lynn’s IQ. That the two variables correlate can be interpreted that whatever is behind IQ score compiled/concocted by Lynn’s also is behind the game score concocted by Kierkegaard and that whatever has nothing to do with genes.

    Read More
    • Replies: @The Big Red Scary

    Bi- or multi- modal distributions should be expected .
     
    Indeed, to me this is the reasonable null hypothesis. But if I understand correctly,
    many of the conversations around here seem to assume normal distribution without much explanation.


    Is someone willing to steelman an argument for the normal distribution of IQ within an ethnically and socio-economically heterogeneous society?


    has nothing to do with genes.
     
    This seems to me an extraordinary claim requiring extraordinary evidence.

    As a rule of thumb, I would assume one third nature, one third nurture, and one third luck, the exact proportions depending on the trait in question and on the background level of well-being. (With a caveat that most of 'nurture' seems to occur outside the home.)

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  22. tamako says:

    As soon I saw that Melee managed to make it on the list of relevant e-sports, I knew that it was going to tilt the scales in favor of the United States.

    If you look at the history of competitive Melee, you will notice that the only country where it actually stayed relevant after the release of Brawl in 2008 was the US. You’ll notice that all the active Americans on that top 20 list (i.e. every one except for PC Chris, Ken – who are retired – and PPMD – who is on a long break due to medical problems) have been playing the game long before its resurgence as a result of the Smash Bros. Documentary (which is also heavily America-centric) and its re-entry into EVO (the largest yearly fighting game tournament series).

    Even when the history behind Melee is disregarded, most of the large major tournaments are still held in America. EVO, CEO, Genesis, The Big House, Shine – all are held in the United States. This is a good explanation for why European players are under-represented relative to IQ, since there are some major balance changes that were included in the PAL version of Melee (played in Europe), that were not included in the NTSC version (played in USA/Japan).

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  23. It’s hard to come up with a mental sport that is universal.

    I would guess that chess has the most worldwide prestige, but perhaps as an American I over rate its popularity. The Soviets subsidized chess, so Americans paid attention to it as a Cold War battleground.

    Soccer’s World Cup would likely be the single biggest competitive sporting event. The average footballer is no mental giant, yet the two countries that make the final game tend to have large numbers of people with IQs over 100, suggesting that countries that have a fair number of smart people playing soccer seem to get organized for the World Cup better than countries that don’t.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_FIFA_World_Cup_finals

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    • Troll: utu
    • Replies: @Dmitry

    Soccer’s World Cup would likely be the single biggest competitive sporting event. The average footballer is no mental giant, yet the two countries that make the final game tend to have large numbers of people with IQs over 100, suggesting that countries that have a fair number of smart people playing soccer seem to get organized for the World Cup better than countries that don’t.

     

    Football is more like womanizing than a calculus paper. The more reflective and intellectual players have tendency to think too much, and fail at the final moment, meanwhile the simpletons do just fine. The Latino races (Argentina, Spain, Italy, Brazil) are dominating, and meanwhile Slavic countries are always the losers, if they even get anywhere, or get past group-stage - unusual in Russia's case - to begin with.

    And then there is the Germans - who never ever lose in penalty shoot-out, or miss an open goal, as some kind of frightening national characteristic that strikes fear into the rest of the world.

    https://www.reuters.com/article/us-soccer-world-ger-penalties/nervenstaerke-the-secret-of-germany-shootout-success-idUSKBN0F81TU20140703

    , @Anatoly Karlin
    You need a certain level of IQ to create the conditions in which your footballers can maximize their potential, but it doesn't seem necessary beyond that fairly modest point (probably around 80).

    ... yet the two countries that make the final game
     
    They tend to be from Europe (~100 IQ) or from Latin America (~85 IQ).
    , @Emil O. W. Kirkegaard
    No sport is really universal in the sense that every culture pays it equal attention. The point of this systematic study was to be very inclusive in the list of sports such that the cultural differences in interest average out. Someone mentioned bridge and backgammon and these should be included if I can find some kind of top lists.
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  24. @utu
    Bi- or multi- modal distributions should be expected . In mono-ethnic countries you will get bi-modal distribution if you have mix of urban and rural populations. It is not just ethnic component but whatever is responsible for Flynn effect that is also responsible that rural and urban populations have different means.

    What was good about Chisala argument was that Scrabble is a low tech game and thus it is more decoupled from the socio-economic development of a society or country. This is not the case with some games used by Kierkegaard to compose/construct the variable he correlates with Lynn’s IQ. That the two variables correlate can be interpreted that whatever is behind IQ score compiled/concocted by Lynn’s also is behind the game score concocted by Kierkegaard and that whatever has nothing to do with genes.

    Bi- or multi- modal distributions should be expected .

    Indeed, to me this is the reasonable null hypothesis. But if I understand correctly,
    many of the conversations around here seem to assume normal distribution without much explanation.

    Is someone willing to steelman an argument for the normal distribution of IQ within an ethnically and socio-economically heterogeneous society?

    has nothing to do with genes.

    This seems to me an extraordinary claim requiring extraordinary evidence.

    As a rule of thumb, I would assume one third nature, one third nurture, and one third luck, the exact proportions depending on the trait in question and on the background level of well-being. (With a caveat that most of ‘nurture’ seems to occur outside the home.)

    Read More
    • Replies: @utu

    This seems to me an extraordinary claim requiring extraordinary evidence.
     
    Yes. I should have written "may nothing to do with genes" instead of what I have written "has nothing to do with genes."

    I was thinking of urban/rural split that vanishes with "urbanization" of society and is captured in data as Flynn effect. Obviously it has nothing to do with genes. This is the change for Irish being dull to being ok or from Hungarian peasant being dull but once after moving to Budapest being OK. Similar effect must play a role for underdeveloped world. Obviously Lynn and his ilk do not like to think that way.
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  25. Dmitry says:
    @Steve Sailer
    It's hard to come up with a mental sport that is universal.

    I would guess that chess has the most worldwide prestige, but perhaps as an American I over rate its popularity. The Soviets subsidized chess, so Americans paid attention to it as a Cold War battleground.

    Soccer's World Cup would likely be the single biggest competitive sporting event. The average footballer is no mental giant, yet the two countries that make the final game tend to have large numbers of people with IQs over 100, suggesting that countries that have a fair number of smart people playing soccer seem to get organized for the World Cup better than countries that don't.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_FIFA_World_Cup_finals

    Soccer’s World Cup would likely be the single biggest competitive sporting event. The average footballer is no mental giant, yet the two countries that make the final game tend to have large numbers of people with IQs over 100, suggesting that countries that have a fair number of smart people playing soccer seem to get organized for the World Cup better than countries that don’t.

    Football is more like womanizing than a calculus paper. The more reflective and intellectual players have tendency to think too much, and fail at the final moment, meanwhile the simpletons do just fine. The Latino races (Argentina, Spain, Italy, Brazil) are dominating, and meanwhile Slavic countries are always the losers, if they even get anywhere, or get past group-stage – unusual in Russia’s case – to begin with.

    And then there is the Germans – who never ever lose in penalty shoot-out, or miss an open goal, as some kind of frightening national characteristic that strikes fear into the rest of the world.

    https://www.reuters.com/article/us-soccer-world-ger-penalties/nervenstaerke-the-secret-of-germany-shootout-success-idUSKBN0F81TU20140703

    Read More
    • Replies: @dmitry

    Football is more like womanizing than a calculus paper. The more reflective and intellectual players have tendency to think too much, and fail at the final moment, meanwhile the simpletons do just fine.
     
    Well I should say an algebra paper.

    The more you double think and double-check yourself in algebra, the less mistakes you make.

    On the contrary, more you double think and double-check yourself in football (with the penalty shootout as the apotheosis of this), the more mistakes you make.


    The Latino races (Argentina, Spain, Italy, Brazil) .
     
    And how do I forget to mention Portugal.
    , @utu
    Don't you see he is trolling? He lost his mind. He sees IQ in football and can explain medal ranking with it. A sign of dementia?
    , @Ali Choudhury
    Not sure the great football sides like Barcelona from a few years ago could be described as simpletons. The top Argentinian, Spanish and Italian stars look more like generic Europeans than Latinos. The Slavic nations probably don't do that well because severe winters discourage playing outside then so they lose out on practice time.
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  26. dmitry says:
    @Dmitry

    Soccer’s World Cup would likely be the single biggest competitive sporting event. The average footballer is no mental giant, yet the two countries that make the final game tend to have large numbers of people with IQs over 100, suggesting that countries that have a fair number of smart people playing soccer seem to get organized for the World Cup better than countries that don’t.

     

    Football is more like womanizing than a calculus paper. The more reflective and intellectual players have tendency to think too much, and fail at the final moment, meanwhile the simpletons do just fine. The Latino races (Argentina, Spain, Italy, Brazil) are dominating, and meanwhile Slavic countries are always the losers, if they even get anywhere, or get past group-stage - unusual in Russia's case - to begin with.

    And then there is the Germans - who never ever lose in penalty shoot-out, or miss an open goal, as some kind of frightening national characteristic that strikes fear into the rest of the world.

    https://www.reuters.com/article/us-soccer-world-ger-penalties/nervenstaerke-the-secret-of-germany-shootout-success-idUSKBN0F81TU20140703

    Football is more like womanizing than a calculus paper. The more reflective and intellectual players have tendency to think too much, and fail at the final moment, meanwhile the simpletons do just fine.

    Well I should say an algebra paper.

    The more you double think and double-check yourself in algebra, the less mistakes you make.

    On the contrary, more you double think and double-check yourself in football (with the penalty shootout as the apotheosis of this), the more mistakes you make.

    The Latino races (Argentina, Spain, Italy, Brazil) .

    And how do I forget to mention Portugal.

    Read More
    • Replies: @szopen
    Actually, my country twice got third in the world (1974 and 1982); plus less prestigious but still, ogld medal in summer olympics 1972, and two silvers: 1976 and 1992. Soviets, not exactly Slavic but close enough, also had some successes hadn't they?
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  27. szopen says:
    @dmitry

    Football is more like womanizing than a calculus paper. The more reflective and intellectual players have tendency to think too much, and fail at the final moment, meanwhile the simpletons do just fine.
     
    Well I should say an algebra paper.

    The more you double think and double-check yourself in algebra, the less mistakes you make.

    On the contrary, more you double think and double-check yourself in football (with the penalty shootout as the apotheosis of this), the more mistakes you make.


    The Latino races (Argentina, Spain, Italy, Brazil) .
     
    And how do I forget to mention Portugal.

    Actually, my country twice got third in the world (1974 and 1982); plus less prestigious but still, ogld medal in summer olympics 1972, and two silvers: 1976 and 1992. Soviets, not exactly Slavic but close enough, also had some successes hadn’t they?

    Read More
    • Replies: @dmitry

    Actually, my country twice got third in the world (1974 and 1982); plus less prestigious but still, gold medal in summer olympics 1972, and two silvers: 1976 and 1992.
     
    And which country is that?

    Edit - ok Poland. But this is decades ago.


    Soviets, not exactly Slavic but close enough, also had some successes hadn’t they?
     
    Soviet Union with 290 million people until 1991, very football loving culture - 1 European Champion (1960, and a few second place finishes), and the best ever result in the World Cup was coming in fourth place (1966).

    Portugal, with 10 millions people, has a similar record (European Champion, and third place in the World Cup).

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  28. utu says:
    @Dmitry

    Soccer’s World Cup would likely be the single biggest competitive sporting event. The average footballer is no mental giant, yet the two countries that make the final game tend to have large numbers of people with IQs over 100, suggesting that countries that have a fair number of smart people playing soccer seem to get organized for the World Cup better than countries that don’t.

     

    Football is more like womanizing than a calculus paper. The more reflective and intellectual players have tendency to think too much, and fail at the final moment, meanwhile the simpletons do just fine. The Latino races (Argentina, Spain, Italy, Brazil) are dominating, and meanwhile Slavic countries are always the losers, if they even get anywhere, or get past group-stage - unusual in Russia's case - to begin with.

    And then there is the Germans - who never ever lose in penalty shoot-out, or miss an open goal, as some kind of frightening national characteristic that strikes fear into the rest of the world.

    https://www.reuters.com/article/us-soccer-world-ger-penalties/nervenstaerke-the-secret-of-germany-shootout-success-idUSKBN0F81TU20140703

    Don’t you see he is trolling? He lost his mind. He sees IQ in football and can explain medal ranking with it. A sign of dementia?

    Read More
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  29. @Dmitry

    Soccer’s World Cup would likely be the single biggest competitive sporting event. The average footballer is no mental giant, yet the two countries that make the final game tend to have large numbers of people with IQs over 100, suggesting that countries that have a fair number of smart people playing soccer seem to get organized for the World Cup better than countries that don’t.

     

    Football is more like womanizing than a calculus paper. The more reflective and intellectual players have tendency to think too much, and fail at the final moment, meanwhile the simpletons do just fine. The Latino races (Argentina, Spain, Italy, Brazil) are dominating, and meanwhile Slavic countries are always the losers, if they even get anywhere, or get past group-stage - unusual in Russia's case - to begin with.

    And then there is the Germans - who never ever lose in penalty shoot-out, or miss an open goal, as some kind of frightening national characteristic that strikes fear into the rest of the world.

    https://www.reuters.com/article/us-soccer-world-ger-penalties/nervenstaerke-the-secret-of-germany-shootout-success-idUSKBN0F81TU20140703

    Not sure the great football sides like Barcelona from a few years ago could be described as simpletons. The top Argentinian, Spanish and Italian stars look more like generic Europeans than Latinos. The Slavic nations probably don’t do that well because severe winters discourage playing outside then so they lose out on practice time.

    Read More
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  30. utu says:
    @The Big Red Scary

    Bi- or multi- modal distributions should be expected .
     
    Indeed, to me this is the reasonable null hypothesis. But if I understand correctly,
    many of the conversations around here seem to assume normal distribution without much explanation.


    Is someone willing to steelman an argument for the normal distribution of IQ within an ethnically and socio-economically heterogeneous society?


    has nothing to do with genes.
     
    This seems to me an extraordinary claim requiring extraordinary evidence.

    As a rule of thumb, I would assume one third nature, one third nurture, and one third luck, the exact proportions depending on the trait in question and on the background level of well-being. (With a caveat that most of 'nurture' seems to occur outside the home.)

    This seems to me an extraordinary claim requiring extraordinary evidence.

    Yes. I should have written “may nothing to do with genes” instead of what I have written “has nothing to do with genes.”

    I was thinking of urban/rural split that vanishes with “urbanization” of society and is captured in data as Flynn effect. Obviously it has nothing to do with genes. This is the change for Irish being dull to being ok or from Hungarian peasant being dull but once after moving to Budapest being OK. Similar effect must play a role for underdeveloped world. Obviously Lynn and his ilk do not like to think that way.

    Read More
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  31. dmitry says:
    @szopen
    Actually, my country twice got third in the world (1974 and 1982); plus less prestigious but still, ogld medal in summer olympics 1972, and two silvers: 1976 and 1992. Soviets, not exactly Slavic but close enough, also had some successes hadn't they?

    Actually, my country twice got third in the world (1974 and 1982); plus less prestigious but still, gold medal in summer olympics 1972, and two silvers: 1976 and 1992.

    And which country is that?

    Edit – ok Poland. But this is decades ago.

    Soviets, not exactly Slavic but close enough, also had some successes hadn’t they?

    Soviet Union with 290 million people until 1991, very football loving culture – 1 European Champion (1960, and a few second place finishes), and the best ever result in the World Cup was coming in fourth place (1966).

    Portugal, with 10 millions people, has a similar record (European Champion, and third place in the World Cup).

    Read More
    • Replies: @Anatoly Karlin
    Yeah, USSR's record was very poor in population-adjusted terms, and a good chunk of its best players came from the Caucasus and the warmest Slavic lands (south Ukraine, Kuban).

    I had an article about this: http://www.unz.com/akarlin/why-russia-bad-at-football/
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  32. Dmitry says:

    The Czechs and Yugoslavians had some very talented teams, but a habit of always failing at the last moment (this could be called the inverse Germany syndrome).

    Read More
    • Replies: @utu
    Czechoslovakia World Cup 1934 and 1962 2nd place.
    , @utu
    1998 World Cup Denmark:Nigeria (4:1) was the best example how the team work of Danish team won over superior technical skills of Nigerian players.
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  33. utu says:
    @Dmitry
    The Czechs and Yugoslavians had some very talented teams, but a habit of always failing at the last moment (this could be called the inverse Germany syndrome).

    Czechoslovakia World Cup 1934 and 1962 2nd place.

    Read More
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  34. utu says:
    @Dmitry
    The Czechs and Yugoslavians had some very talented teams, but a habit of always failing at the last moment (this could be called the inverse Germany syndrome).

    1998 World Cup Denmark:Nigeria (4:1) was the best example how the team work of Danish team won over superior technical skills of Nigerian players.

    Read More
    • Agree: dmitry
    • Replies: @Dmitry
    When Greece (with one of most boring and technically poor teams in world history) beat Czech in semi-final, and then beat Portugal in the final to win Euro 2004 - this is when my youthful disillusionment with international football began.
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  35. @Steve Sailer
    It's hard to come up with a mental sport that is universal.

    I would guess that chess has the most worldwide prestige, but perhaps as an American I over rate its popularity. The Soviets subsidized chess, so Americans paid attention to it as a Cold War battleground.

    Soccer's World Cup would likely be the single biggest competitive sporting event. The average footballer is no mental giant, yet the two countries that make the final game tend to have large numbers of people with IQs over 100, suggesting that countries that have a fair number of smart people playing soccer seem to get organized for the World Cup better than countries that don't.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_FIFA_World_Cup_finals

    You need a certain level of IQ to create the conditions in which your footballers can maximize their potential, but it doesn’t seem necessary beyond that fairly modest point (probably around 80).

    … yet the two countries that make the final game

    They tend to be from Europe (~100 IQ) or from Latin America (~85 IQ).

    Read More
    • Replies: @Dave Pinsen
    There was a good article in the FT recently that helped explain some of Germany's success at the World Cup.

    https://twitter.com/dpinsen/status/955946312326926340
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  36. @dmitry

    Actually, my country twice got third in the world (1974 and 1982); plus less prestigious but still, gold medal in summer olympics 1972, and two silvers: 1976 and 1992.
     
    And which country is that?

    Edit - ok Poland. But this is decades ago.


    Soviets, not exactly Slavic but close enough, also had some successes hadn’t they?
     
    Soviet Union with 290 million people until 1991, very football loving culture - 1 European Champion (1960, and a few second place finishes), and the best ever result in the World Cup was coming in fourth place (1966).

    Portugal, with 10 millions people, has a similar record (European Champion, and third place in the World Cup).

    Yeah, USSR’s record was very poor in population-adjusted terms, and a good chunk of its best players came from the Caucasus and the warmest Slavic lands (south Ukraine, Kuban).

    I had an article about this: http://www.unz.com/akarlin/why-russia-bad-at-football/

    Read More
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  37. [hbd the same shit tossing ad circulauseam, AMEN]

    Black african smart fraction have a verbal-spatial tilt

    This gave them certain advantage to verbal-loaded game as Scrabble…

    Another possible evidence for that is the great blackfrican ability in:

    rap verbal games….

    Chess look like to be more ”spatial-loaded” than verbal.

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  38. Dmitry says:
    @utu
    1998 World Cup Denmark:Nigeria (4:1) was the best example how the team work of Danish team won over superior technical skills of Nigerian players.

    When Greece (with one of most boring and technically poor teams in world history) beat Czech in semi-final, and then beat Portugal in the final to win Euro 2004 – this is when my youthful disillusionment with international football began.

    Read More
    • Replies: @reiner Tor
    That Czech team should have won the Euro 2004. They were so very good. Unfortunately, not good enough to beat the Greeks.

    Of course I’d be happy if Hungary won with such a boring game.
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  39. Dave Pinsen says: • Website
    @Anatoly Karlin
    You need a certain level of IQ to create the conditions in which your footballers can maximize their potential, but it doesn't seem necessary beyond that fairly modest point (probably around 80).

    ... yet the two countries that make the final game
     
    They tend to be from Europe (~100 IQ) or from Latin America (~85 IQ).

    There was a good article in the FT recently that helped explain some of Germany’s success at the World Cup.

    Read More
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  40. @Dmitry
    When Greece (with one of most boring and technically poor teams in world history) beat Czech in semi-final, and then beat Portugal in the final to win Euro 2004 - this is when my youthful disillusionment with international football began.

    That Czech team should have won the Euro 2004. They were so very good. Unfortunately, not good enough to beat the Greeks.

    Of course I’d be happy if Hungary won with such a boring game.

    Read More
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  41. @szopen
    I'd say Kierkegaard is going for a "Weakman" with Nigeria. As we discussed as nauseum in Chisala's threads, the performance of Nigeria is not what was surprising. It was performance of the other, much smaller country (starting with "G": Gabon? Gambia?) where the number of top players was impossible with Lynn's national IQ given for that country.

    These countries don’t have big positive residuals either. Look at the plot.

    Read More
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  42. @Anonymous
    Superintesting paper. Also, as a sidenote, seeing CS:GO being more correlated with national IQ than SC2(even if the differences are marginal) blows a big hole in the argument that FPS games are inherently for dumber people, though what kind of FPS game naturally also matters. Even if SC2 has higher mental loading (not surprising), the difference there too isn't huge either.


    I was surprised to see DOTA 2 being (relatively) lower correlated, though I am not a DOTA 2 player so I don't have a good off-hand explanation for that one.

    These are aggregate level relations, not individual level. The IQ ~~ skill level relationship for CS:GO is likely to by weaker at the individual level than the IQ ~~ SC2 one. The aggregate ones reflect the distribution of national interest in specific games as well as the g-loading at individual level itself.

    Read More
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  43. @Steve Sailer
    It's hard to come up with a mental sport that is universal.

    I would guess that chess has the most worldwide prestige, but perhaps as an American I over rate its popularity. The Soviets subsidized chess, so Americans paid attention to it as a Cold War battleground.

    Soccer's World Cup would likely be the single biggest competitive sporting event. The average footballer is no mental giant, yet the two countries that make the final game tend to have large numbers of people with IQs over 100, suggesting that countries that have a fair number of smart people playing soccer seem to get organized for the World Cup better than countries that don't.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_FIFA_World_Cup_finals

    No sport is really universal in the sense that every culture pays it equal attention. The point of this systematic study was to be very inclusive in the list of sports such that the cultural differences in interest average out. Someone mentioned bridge and backgammon and these should be included if I can find some kind of top lists.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Krastos the Gluemaker
    Setting aside the apples and oranges comparison of prize pools and monetary awards vs some alleged elo-like scores (except for chess and possibly some Asian games I wouldn't trust the sources on that, or even more inherent issues with elo systems themselves in terms of sample size) there are a couple other recommendations to examine in good faith:

    Someone (not me, find a better translator) could easily get you a list of thousands of shogi professionals or tournament successful individuals over the years and some inkling of prizes won or skill ranks.

    With some effort, information for some other card games that neither you or the other commenters have brought up yet (thousands of players, millions of dollars in tournaments etc) can be found, some going back decades, though the issues of inflation, lack of cross-temporal skill ranking comparisons and whatnot might arise.

    That's all in addition to the videogames, many listed on the website which is a pretty comprehensive source, that were just excluded from the paper.

    I don't think this changes the big picture - if you only read this comment I had another comment - especially the interest/cultural factor of wealthier countries (and some outliers like North Korea are actually legititmate) but it's still a lot more polished.
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  44. Wency says:
    @Dmitry
    Scrabble is dependent on having very good English vocabulary (well I guess they have some championships in other languages?). It'll correlate with reading/culture levels in English language - i.e. how many English books people read, particularly English-language fiction (fiction texts have a much wider vocabulary than non-fiction).

    It's a beautiful game for learning advanced English. And if you've ever had a few weeks in a language school, most of the Japanese and Chinese students are stuck permanently in the intermediate English class at best. Even when they are speaking well, the reading part is a nightmare for them - so I hardly see many of them qualifying for Scrabble championship.

    Playing Scrabble at an advanced level has nothing to do with being highly literate. It’s all about memorizing all of the short words that are considered playable for Scrabble and then knowing how to apply them and how to deny your opponent. Many of these players don’t know the meanings of half the words they use.

    A few words like “qi” are worth 1,000 words like “salubrious”.

    Yeah, it’s a fundamentally crappy game. All the strategies that make you better also make the game less fun and kill its intent.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Hippopotamusdrome
    antidisestablishmentarianism = 38
    antitransubstantiationist = 29

    vs.

    zit on a triple word score = 36
    ax with x on a triple letter score = 25
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  45. Wency says:
    @theMann
    I would think that Bridge and Backgammon are the most commonly played mental sports, no mention of either. Really wonder how many Catan players exist world wide as well.

    Dota 2 is free, I believe, which I sincerely hope accounts for 99% of its popularity.


    And as a relatively strong chess player, I can assure you it is no measure of intelligence at all.

    Chess performance is correlated with IQ, in that you need maybe a 120-130 minimum IQ to be able to play at top levels. After that, it’s mostly a test of how obsessively you’re devoted to improving your chess game, am I right?

    This is probably true of every game listed here though, after shifting that minimum IQ up or down. Apparently down for Scrabble.

    One thing about Scrabble that may also be relevant: it’s more of a woman’s game, at least on the casual level. CS is definitely not. But I wonder if that is feeding into this study in any way.

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  46. Bill P says:

    I wonder where War Thunder ranks. As I ease into middle age I’ve come to like that game.

    Read More
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  47. @Wency
    Playing Scrabble at an advanced level has nothing to do with being highly literate. It’s all about memorizing all of the short words that are considered playable for Scrabble and then knowing how to apply them and how to deny your opponent. Many of these players don’t know the meanings of half the words they use.

    A few words like “qi” are worth 1,000 words like “salubrious”.

    Yeah, it’s a fundamentally crappy game. All the strategies that make you better also make the game less fun and kill its intent.

    antidisestablishmentarianism = 38
    antitransubstantiationist = 29

    vs.

    zit on a triple word score = 36
    ax with x on a triple letter score = 25

    Read More
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  48. 2213960

    The bots have come for you, Mr. Karlin.

    Read More
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  49. @theMann
    I would think that Bridge and Backgammon are the most commonly played mental sports, no mention of either. Really wonder how many Catan players exist world wide as well.

    Dota 2 is free, I believe, which I sincerely hope accounts for 99% of its popularity.


    And as a relatively strong chess player, I can assure you it is no measure of intelligence at all.

    The methodology is questionable in some ways. I’d owe Kirkegaard a better review and this is like the most Kirkegaard-esque paper possible, as just an observation, but my shorter thoughts on just the above:

    It was really a drunk-looking-under-lamppost attempt since no possible independent analysis would include this group of competitions/sports together without the preexisting bias. Looks bad in a cherry-picking sense. Chisala aside, nothing in terms of say prize pools would justify inclusion of Scrabble and simultaneous exclusion of others. Excluding shogi might have helped Japan look like an outlier O.o In fact the criteria to cut dozens or more potentially relevant videogames (and there are huge headscratchers, like SCBW to SCII) would in fact have cut off Go (<1000 players in the data source!) if it was actually applied.

    I don't think that really changes any of the picture, if one understands few weird sweeping conclusions can be made. As an exploratory analysis this is reasonable, and including a bunch of other games wouldn't necessarily change the qualitative appeal of the major graphs.

    Also seriously, including team sports alongside individual sports clearly really skews what you're looking at; it would be almost like concluding Usain Bolt isn't that great of a athlete on some "general athletics factor we just derived" because the German soccer teams over the years as a whole had more players than Jamaica. Definitely a lot of the result in a principal components sense is that wealthier first world and higher population countries are able to put together teams more easily. (Since common frictions like language barriers affect team formation)

    None of this is exactly my first interest anyway, at least not compared to discussing say AI performance vs game theoretic properties of these games, (which I would maintain does crucially impact understanding of human skill and correlation with IQ) but that's for elsewhere. I again truly don't care much whether average Scrabble tournament participates have 115 IQ and some videogame players have 110 IQ or 120 IQ or vice versa; I don't even know enough about all of the videogame scenes. Still to be clear it's a decent writeup by Kirkegaard in general though.

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  50. @Emil O. W. Kirkegaard
    No sport is really universal in the sense that every culture pays it equal attention. The point of this systematic study was to be very inclusive in the list of sports such that the cultural differences in interest average out. Someone mentioned bridge and backgammon and these should be included if I can find some kind of top lists.

    Setting aside the apples and oranges comparison of prize pools and monetary awards vs some alleged elo-like scores (except for chess and possibly some Asian games I wouldn’t trust the sources on that, or even more inherent issues with elo systems themselves in terms of sample size) there are a couple other recommendations to examine in good faith:

    Someone (not me, find a better translator) could easily get you a list of thousands of shogi professionals or tournament successful individuals over the years and some inkling of prizes won or skill ranks.

    With some effort, information for some other card games that neither you or the other commenters have brought up yet (thousands of players, millions of dollars in tournaments etc) can be found, some going back decades, though the issues of inflation, lack of cross-temporal skill ranking comparisons and whatnot might arise.

    That’s all in addition to the videogames, many listed on the website which is a pretty comprehensive source, that were just excluded from the paper.

    I don’t think this changes the big picture – if you only read this comment I had another comment – especially the interest/cultural factor of wealthier countries (and some outliers like North Korea are actually legititmate) but it’s still a lot more polished.

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